Playoff Week 1 recap

and Final Four preview!

The intro...

Well shit, I'm glad I posted those tiebreaker rules last week! We had one of our two playoff games end in a tie, allowing Niko to move on. We also had an upset, with Eliot's third-ranked squad getting done in by Pete's sixth-seeded Yoenises.

While the opening round games were pretty spicy, the Final Four should be even spicier, with good friends facing off in both matchups. I decided to switch it up this week and do a day-by-day recap to see how these playoff battles unfurled, so let's just get straight to it.


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Day-by-day recap

MONDAY (tied 3-3)

Highlights: The matchup started as it ended...TIED. Aaron got a Gonzo bomb, while Niko got a three-run jack from Jayson Werth.
Lowlights: Max Scherzer blew it again in his quest for 20 wins. Meanwhile, the rest of Niko's lineup sucked and Danny Farquhar ate shit in a save opportunity for Niko's M's (81 ERA!!)
TUESDAY (Aaron takes commanding 8-2 lead)
Highlights: 12 RBI in one day? Holy shit. Alfonso Soriano continued rampaging with two homers in one game, while Josh Hamilton picked a good time to stop sucking ass with a HR and 4 RBI. The Shits also had wins from Shelby Miller and Liriano, while the Nancies got a win from Teheran. Niko also had Jayson Werth hit his second HR in two days.
Lowlights: Niko didn't really do shit otherwise on offense, and made a critical blunder on the pitching side by not seeing Clay Buchholz was coming back off the DL (he pitched five scoreless for the win). Of course, Buchholz would factor in later on in this matchup. Meanwhile, Aaron used a roster spot on Tony Cingrani only to have him pitch shittily then get injured, then wasted a roster spot by picking up Roy Halladay then dumping him when his start got moved back a couple days. A little trigger happy there dude? More on this later.
WEDNESDAY (Aaron slightly increases lead to 8-1)
Highlights: After dropping bombs on offense a day before, Aaron took to the mound to widen his advantage, picking up a shutout win from Mike Leake, a vulture win from Uehara and had a few other nice performances. For Niko, Jose Fernandez got a win in his last start and even hit a bomb (his first) and sparked a bench-clearing scrum. Great end to a great season for the rookie, who unfortunately is now done for the year. Another of Niko's Marlins, Giancarlo Stanton, hit a 3-run jack.
Lowlights: Steve Cishek, Niko's third Marlin (why did he have so many Marlins??), gave up a run and his team hit only .143 for the day. Aaron's guy Mike Minor was his lone shitty outing of the day, including giving up the aforementioned homer to a pitcher. This proved to be the high-water mark for Aaron's squad before it all fell apart.
THURSDAY (Niko narrows the deficit, Aaron leads 7-3)

Highlights: Niko closed the gap with a good-ass day on offense, hitting .393 with homers from Ortiz and Reyes and a steal from Kipnis. Aaron was able to put the Nancies further behind some of the pitching stats though thanks to a win from AJ Griffin and a save from Jim Henderson.

Lowlights: Niko made another boner move by benching Zack Greinke during a typically good start today. WHY? Aaron had a forgettable day on offense, a .167 average and bupkis other than a walk-off RBI single by Gonzo.

FRIDAY (Niko creeps even closer, Aaron leads 6-3)

Highlights: Stanton hit two more jacks, trying desperately to make up for the fact that Niko gave away two top guys in Beltre and Adam Jones for him. The Nancies added homers from Rizzo and McCann to open up a big lead in HRs, though Aaron opened up a similarly big lead in average with his Shits hitting .389 on the day. The Nooners also tried to put saves out of reach with a couple more from Johnson and Benoit.

Lowlights: Aaron left two runs and two steals on the bench from Jean Segura. But the top (or is it bottom?) lowlight from the day was Niko making the excuse on the smack talk board that he wasn't paying attention earlier this week because of Oregon and Seahawk football. Last I checked, they play on the weekends dude. Those accidental benchings earlier in the week forced him to stream a shitload of pitchers on the weekend, and how did that turn out?

SATURDAY (Niko blows by Aaron for 5-3 lead)

Highlights: Turned out pretty good! This Dumb and Dumber clip sums it up. After a weeklong string of boner moves, Niko totally redeemed himself by coming up aces on every damn pitcher today. Bartolo? Shutout win. Ervin Santana? Shutout win. Gerrit Cole? 1-run win. Doug Fister? 1 run in a loss. His closers? 3 saves. He added a 3 run, 3 RBI, 1 HR day from Shin Soo Choo to go from well behind to well ahead of Aaron. Just an incredible day.

Lowlights: Aaron had no pitchers going today, allowing Niko to shoot past him in K's with his streamer brigade. He also had no hitting of note, and left ANOTHER steal on the bench from Segura. This matchup though was gonna come down to each guy having three starting pitchers going on the final day and...

SUNDAY (Teams tie 5-5, Niko WINS via tiebreaker!)

Highlights: all came down to Niko needing Clay Buchholz to get just one K and a low WHIP in the Sunday night game to clinch the win via tiebreaker, and he came through in the clutch for the Nancies. Choo and Werth also got steals to help Niko win the SB category, while Aaron went apeshit with 13 RBI and a .417 average, but it was all for naught.

Lowlights: Aaron really got bit in the ass by his ill-advised pickup-then-drop of Roy Halladay, as he could have used the extra move to pick up one last pitcher this weekend to get a few more strikeouts. He also was pretty unlucky to not even get to 30 runs despite a .300-plus average. What a Shitty way to go out.


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Day-by-day recap

MONDAY (Pete leads 5-3)
Highlights: Pete got off to a pretty ridiculous start, going absolutely dumb on the mound with three wins, 30 K's and a 1.55 ERA, while Elvis Andrus picked up two steals in a game for Eliot.
Lowlights: Both of these guys were totally useless at bat, both hitting well under .200, Miguel Cabrera got tossed from the game in the first inning, while Pete was starting Ellsbury, Craig and Domonic Brown (all injured) and benched Mark Melancon for no reason while he got a save. Not the brightest bulb we're dealing with here.
TUESDAY (Tied 4-4)
Highlights: Chris Davis hit numba 49, while Ya-steal Puig picked up an SB.
Lowlights: Pete was still batting under the Mendoza line, but he had some good luck as Melancon gave up multiple runs for the first time this year but still got another save.
WEDNESDAY (Pete takes 6-2 lead)
Highlights: Pete took a commanding lead he wouldn't relinquish, and did so on the backs of multiple A's in Oakland's 18-3 dickpunching of Minnesota. Coco Crisp continued his unlikely power surge while Brandon Moss had 3 runs and 2 RBI, all in support of rookster Sonny Gray picking up the win with 7 K's. Eliot got a homer from Ya-seeyoulater Puig and picked up his first two wins of the week from Shields and CJ Wilson.
Lowlights: Unfortunately Eliot also had Wilson's opponent, RA Dickface, who was predictably mediocre with a 6.75 ERA. Matt Garza had a shitty outing for Pete but at least didn't berate anyone's wives on Twitter afterward.

THURSDAY (Pete's lead slims to 5-3)

Highlights: Eliot tried to come back with a homer from Freeman, a vulture win from Mariano and a save from Fernando Rodney. Pete responded with another save from Melancon and another steal from Coco.

Lowlights: Eliot apparently didn't set his lineup today, leaving Michael Bourn and Justin Upton on his bench when there were two open starting spots. It's OK, it isn't like they score two runs each or anything. DubTeeEff. Luckily Pete didn't do shit on offense. Eliot also had Kenley Jansen blow a save against the Giants. Oof.

FRIDAY (Pete moves it back to 6-3)

Highlights: Sheeeeeeeeeit, this just went to another level today. Pete, Mister Show Me Yourdick himself, picked up Yoenis and what did he do in his first at-bat? THREE. RUN. BOMB. He also got Chris Davis' 50th homer and jacks from two other slapdicks, because why not? The Show-Mes also got a crucial win from Madison Bumgarner, whose lucky ass left with a 2-0 deficit but got the win because Eliot's boi Kershaw gave up three in the next inning. Eliot at least kept it close in runs and RBI going into the weekend with a nice day on offense.

Lowlights: Kershaw blowing that lead not only screwed the Puigs out of a W but gifted it to the Yoenises. Brutal. Eliot also left Upton on the bench again while he had another good game with a homer.

SATURDAY (Pete ups the lead to 7-3)

Highlights: Eliot had a homer from Freddie Freeman, got steals from his Rangers Kinsler and Andrus and hit well above .400 as a team. Jered Weaver added a nice win for his pitchers. Pete got saves from Papelboner and Melancon to take the lead in that stat, while Aaron Hill hit a jack to pad the Yoenis lead in homers.

Lowlights: The Puigs were unlucky as shit to get a mere 2 RBI on the day despite the high average. Pete somehow had twice as many ribbies despite a sub-Mendoza line day. Better to be lucky than good I suppose. Pete wasn't TOTALLY lucky though...a rain delay capered the shit out of a win opportunity for Matt Moore, who hadn't given up a run but had to be taken out in the 4th inning because of the long delay.

SUNDAY (Pete holds on, WINS 7-3)

Highlights: *this space has been intentionally left blank due to shitty days on both sides*

Lowlights: I didn't want to face Pete for reasons explained below, so was very disappointed to see that Eliot was asleep at the wheel and didn't add a single pitcher despite being behind in all five pitching stats. To top it off, his offense could have overtaken the Yoenises in RBI but managed to get nary a single run batted in all day. Pete tried to blow it with a shitty start from Chris Sale, but really didn't have to do shit to clinch the win. A pretty anticlimactic end to the week.


5 Shits before noon (Aaron)

Imagine eating a bunch of fiber, but only being able to squeeze out a tiny little turd afterward. That was Aaron's Shits. A team that made by far the most moves in the league was the last to clinch a playoff spot and one of the first eliminated down the toilet bowl in the postseason. Sure, Aaron lost via heartbreaking tiebreaker, but only lost that tiebreaker because of the piss-poor regular season play. I thought Aaron's guys were pretty dangerous in these playoffs (it's worth noting that the Shits would have beaten both Pete and Eliot if they faced off), so I'm not that sad to see him go. Especially since it means he can have more time to write the weekly recaps of our football league! In summary, thanks for being the commissioner of this league, now kindly get the hell out of here.

Bay of Puigs (Eliot)

Eliot's team, like their namesake Yasiel Puig, was talented but prone to bouts of laziness and flights of fancy. The Puigs were one of the league's top performing teams despite barely making any moves, but that inaction came back to bite them in the ass in their opening round playoff loss when some pitching adds and offense starter-setting may have made the difference in getting the W. Eliot also changed his team name approximately 10,000 times this year before settling on the Cuba/Puig theme. As mentioned last week, the Puigs had the top-rated hitter and pitcher in the league (Miggy and Kershaw), and made some nice midseason moves like picking up Yasiel, but might have been a victim of their own success. His bunch of Dodgers, Braves and Tigers probably were going to be shut down in the last two weeks to prepare for the playoffs, so I'm not sure if the Puigs were championship material anyways. Unfortunately, due to some inattentiveness and a bit of luck by Pete, we'll never know.


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It's the semifinals...and I've got a semi

So we've reached the stage where it's win or go home broke. As a refresher, we agreed before the season that first place gets $280, second place gets their $40 back, and the rest get jack and shit. Right? Right. OK, let's get to the previews.

JESSE VS. NIKO (previous matchups: Jesse 8-2, Jesse 8-1, Jesse 7-3, so JESSE holds the tiebreaker)

Our first semifinal matchup features the top-seeded Tacos from Ducktown, who steamrolled the league for much of the year but were plagued by injuries and apathy late in the season. But Jesse is surely getting amped up for a battle royale against his friend Niko for a chance to get to the title game and made some nice bye-week adds of guys like Ubaldo Jimenez, who has been killing it lately. His offense also seems to be catching fire at the right time...Yahoo said Hunter Pence has lately been "hotter than Tabasco sauce." Spicy!

On the other side is Niko's bunch of Nancies, who are fresh off a win via tiebreaker in the opening round. Unfortunately, they'll have no such luck if they tie this week, since Jesse's Ducks have dropped birdshit on the Nancies in all three of their previous matchups. As long as Jesse pays attention, I don't see why he shouldn't win this one just as easily. Prediction: Jesse, 6-3.

DAN VS. PETE (previous matchups: Dan 5-3, Tied 5-5, Pete 5-4, so DAN holds the tiebreaker)

Uggggggggggggggggh. Of course it had to come to this. In our other league last year, I dominated all year and had a bye, Pete was the last playoff seed, upset the third-seed in the opening round and then faced me in the semis. Sound familiar? We're back in the same damn spot this year, though hopefully this time it'll turn out differently (he beat my bitchass last year). Besides Chris Davis and maybe Tulo, Pete's lineup doesn't really scare me, but I could see his group of A's outfielders punching me right in the Yoenis and Moneyballz. His pitchers are similarly unintimidating, but I'm sure he'll stream some bozo who throws a no-hitter just because the fantasy gods hate me.

My team is already getting off to a bad start in these Padres closer Huston Street is missing a couple games because his grandmother died, and I finally had to ditch Carlos Gonzalez because of his bum finger. I don't have anything else to say about this matchup because I'm terrified and know I'm gonna get capered again by Dr. Meowi himself. :( Prediction: Pete, 6-4.

Last Harbinger of Your Wasted Time

Fantasy football update!

All four of our Harbinger teams that are also in Aaron's football league faced off this week. Aaron, Jesse, Oscar and I all sucked and lost in Week 1, but a couple of us will get on the board after the Monday night game. I played Jesse and, thanks to Jimmy Graham going bananas, I should win barring a huge MNF game from second-stringer Giovanni Bernard. Oscar has left Gronkowski in his starting lineup for two weeks straight (he's the best), but is somehow on track to beat Aaron's shitty squad in a battle of two of the lowest-scoring teams of the week. Yuck. Hopefully we all get our shit together soon.